Have pre-poll alliance with JD-S, Naidu dares Cong

Published on Apr 19, 2004 01:39 PM IST

BJP President M Venkaiah Naidu dared the Cong to have an open electoral pact with JD-S before the Assembly elections in Karnataka.

HT Image
HT Image
PTI | ByPress Trust of India, Bangalore

BJP President M Venkaiah Naidu on Monday dared the Congress to have an open electoral pact with JD-S before the Assembly elections in Karnataka, in the wake of a Congress' spokesman's statement that the party is willing to join hands with H D Deve Gowda's outfit if the situation warrants after the polls.

"Go and talk to Deve Gowda and ask his candidates to withdraw", Naidu chided the Congress, referring to AICC Spokesperson Ashwini Kumar's statement that the Congress would forge an alliance with JD-S post-poll, if it warrants, to keep "communal forces out of power".

The Congress' statement only showed that party's "weakness", he claimed.

Naidu ridiculed the Congress manifesto promising rice for Rs three a kg and asked the S M Krishna Government: "What were you doing in the past four-and-half years".

He also targetted the Congress promise of unemployment dole of Rs 500 a month, remarking: "What dole will you give when you will not even be in power".

Recalling that in 1983, the then Janata Party of Ramakrishna Hegde, the then Kranti Ranga of S Bangarappa and BJP had formed a coalition government in Karnataka, Naidu observed: "The churning process in Karnataka now is completed".

He said late Hegde's followers are supporting BJP now, while Bangarappa has joined BJP, and together with JD-U, BJP is seeking a strong mandate in Karnataka.

In the past, Karnataka had presented an interesting electoral example with the voters making different choices whenever polls for Lok Sabha and Assembly were held simultaneously or close to each other.

The phenomenon was best exemplified when the electorate gave a resounding mandate to the Congress in 1984 Lok Sabha polls but in the assembly elections that followed soon, Ramakrishna Hegde won a renewed and a decisive mandate.

BJP has been making claims that the traditional voting pattern would be dismantled this time around.

And perhaps, hoping to replicate its success in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, the party's spokesman and incharge Arun Jaitley has been camping in Bangalore, crafting its strategy with state leaders.

As for Karnataka, Chief Minister S M Krishna is for Congress what Vajpayee is for the BJP. Using Krishna as its mascot, the Congress is leaning heavily on him to see the party back in the saddle.

Despite all the aggressive campaign by the BJP, Krishna has been talking confidently of bringing back the party to power with "an absolute majority", which however pales juxtaposed with KPCC President Janardhan Poojary's assertion that they would win 173 of the 224 seats.

JD(S) led by former prime minister H D Devegowda is a major force to reckon with for the assembly polls and is set to put up a strong fight in about six districts in old Mysore area where its presence is striking.

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